Based on extensive research, Wealthsimple Tax is the best free tax software in Canada, offering excellent features and perks to rival even some paid versions of online tax software. The streamlined software, "pay what you want" business model and lack of add-ons make this the perfect software for anyone who wants to complete their taxes quickly, efficiently, and affordably.
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- Families, students, and individual returns
- Small business owners and rental property owners
- Moderately experienced online tax filers
- Cost-conscious tax filers
What is Wealthsimple Tax?
Wealthsimple gained recognition in Canada as one of the most user-friendly robo advisors available and is constantly growing and changing its product offerings. In 2019, that expansion included purchasing SimpleTax, the popular free income tax preparation software, and rebranding it to Wealthsimple Tax.
While Wealthsimple Tax is the company’s first foray into the tax preparation software space, the software itself is not new. Before the 2019 acquisition, SimpleTax had a dedicated following due to its straightforward interface and functionality. Most importantly, it was 100% free to use. Wealthsimple has maintained all of these features after the rebrand—even if you aren’t a Wealthsimple client, the cost is still 100% free.
Wealthsimple Tax is an excellent choice for Canadians with a good grasp of their tax requirements. It comes with just enough bells and whistles to cover most tax situations without becoming too bloated with pricey add-ons that aren’t always worthwhile.
Is Wealthsimple Tax Really Free?
The first and most important question that I get whenever I recommend Wealthsimple Tax is whether this software is really free. Indeed, unlike most of its competitors, you can use Wealthsimple Tax without spending a dime.
That said, Wealthsimple Tax operates on a donation-based “pay what you want” model, where you can choose to donate any amount you are comfortable with before you file your taxes. Wealthsimple Tax suggests a donation of $20, but you can donate more, less, or nothing at all.
Wealthsimple Tax Features
For many Canadians, Wealthsimple Tax’s software is adequate for their tax needs, which means there is no need to overspend on pricey accountants or premium tax preparation software. Here are just a few of their premium features:
- Updated for 2022: With many COVID-related government benefits, credits, and other incentives available, Wealthsimple Tax is updated annually to reflect the many possible changes to your tax situation.
- NETFILE: Wealthsimple is NETFILE certified with the CRA, which means you can file your income tax return directly from the software, receive an Express Notice of Assessment, and receive your refund in as little as eight days.
- Revenu Québec: If you’re located in Quebec, you can still use Wealthsimple Tax to file your return.
- Auto-fill my return: Connect your Wealthsimple Tax account to your CRA My Account and auto-import essential tax documents like your T4s, investment income, TFSA contributions and limits, and more.
- Maximum refund guarantee: If you prepare your taxes with an alternate tax preparation software and receive a bigger refund than Wealthsimple Tax, your copy of the software is free. Wealthsimple Tax will refund back anything you paid them.
- Pay what you want: Wealthsimple Tax prices in Canada in 2022 start at $0 because their donation-based funding means that you pay whatever you are comfortable with, whether that is $0 or $20.
- Smart search: Wealthsimple Tax’s Smart search tool means you can filter the appropriate tax forms by keywords to find exactly which documents and slips you’ll need for your tax situation.
- Dynamic refund calculation: Watch your refund dynamically calculate as you enter your tax details and see which entries are impacting your refund in real-time.
- Refund optimization: If you’re filing with a spouse, Wealthsimple Tax will automatically split your donations, medical expenses, pension income, and other allowable costs to best benefit your tax situation as a couple.
- RRSP optimization: Before you file, Weathsimple Tax will show you the impact of extra contributions to your RRSP and how it will reduce your taxes owing or raise your refund amount. You’ll need to do this exercise before March 1 if you plan to make additional RRSP contributions.
- Compatible with crypto: Wealthsimple Tax lets you easily declare your crypto gains and losses on your tax return by linking to your crypto wallet and automatically calculating your transactions. It can support over 300 exchanges and wallets, including NDAX, Coinberry, Shakepay, Bitbuy and more.
- Suitable for many tax situations: Sometimes, free tax software is limited in its capability and not ideal for all conditions. Wealthsimple Tax is ideal for individuals, families, students, and small business owners.
- Audit support: If your return gets audited by the CRA, Wealthsimple Tax will guide you through the process
- Expanded support: Have tax questions? Wealthsimple Tax’s support team will help you get answers.
Wealthsimple Tax Support Options
One of the common downfalls of free online tax software is the lack of support for Canadians who need help understanding their tax situation. In keeping with that trend, Wealthsimple Tax’s customer support is a little thinner than we’d like. There is no option to contact Wealthsimple Tax’s customer support from the main page.
Once you log into Wealthsimple Tax, there are some support options. Clicking the “Help” link at the bottom of the portal directs you to a knowledge base. Here, you’ll find information on using the software correctly and information on common tax questions, including how to report your income, claim deductions, and submit your return.
If you have questions that aren’t answered by the knowledge base, you can opt to contact Wealthsimple Tax’s client success team. Choosing this option routes you to their contact page, where you have the option to engage their team via a 24/7 chatbot (which they’ve dubbed their “Virtual Assistant”) and real-time chat with a live person. You can also choose to send them an email or reach them by phone.
Both the chat and phone options are subject to business hours: Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM (EST) and Saturday and Sunday, 9 AM to 6 PM EST.
Pros and Cons
When deciding if Wealthsimple Tax is right for you, consider these pros and cons:
Flexible enough for most tax situations
Auto-fills your crypto gains and losses
Beautiful, simple interface
Customer support is basic
Requires a working knowledge of taxes, especially if your tax situation is complicated
No options for add-ons like reviewing services or audit protection
How Does Wealthsimple Tax Compare?
There are several free and paid online tax preparation software options in Canada, and the differences between them can be dramatic. For example, here’s how Wealthsimple Tax compares:
|Wealthsimple Tax||UFile||StudioTax||TurboTax||H&R Block|
|Price||$0||$0 - $34.99||$15||$0 - $44.99||$0 - $44.99|
|Encryption||Yes, two-factor authentication||Yes, two-factor authentication||No (downloadable software)||Yes, TLS||Yes|
|Features||Auto-fill my return, smart search, refund optimization, RRSP optimizer, pension splitting, maximum refund guarantee||Auto-fill my return, import past returns, pension splitting, refile||Import return from previous years||Auto-fill my return, import return from previous years, RRSP optimizer, pension splitting, dynamic refund calculation, mobile app||Auto-fill my return, import from previous years, RRSP optimization, pension splitting, dynamic refund calculation, option to drop of taxes at a branch|
|Support||Online knowledgebase, phone, email, and chat||Online FAQs, contact form, phone support||Email for software issues only||Community, phone, and chat support, return auditing and expert support||Phone support, in-person support at branches, online FAQ, chat|
|Add-ons||No||No||No||Expert review, expert tax preparation, audit protection, digital return storage||Expert review, expert tax preparation, audit protection, last will and testament, digital return storage|
The chart above outlines the top online tax software in Canada. The first two, Wealthsimple Tax and UFile, are free or donation-based. As you can see, of the two, Wealthsimple Tax offers the most features and functionality by far. That makes Wealthsimple Tax our choice for Canada’s best free tax software.
When we compare Wealthsimple Tax to the two leading premium online tax software programs, however, Wealthsimple Tax lacks some add-on options like having your return reviewed by an expert or protecting yourself in case of an audit.
Wealthsimple Tax User Experience
The best word to describe the Wealthsimple Tax user experience is simple. The software is incredibly streamlined and easy to navigate, and the uncomplicated interface makes filing your taxes a breeze. If you don’t have a Wealthsimple account, you can sign up for Wealthsimple and choose which of their products (Invest, Trade, or Tax) you want to use.
The first step is to create an account. Wealthsimple Tax uses two-factor authentication to your email address, so make extra sure you enter it correctly.
The next step is to give your tax return a nickname, which is helpful if you prepare multiple returns with the same login information. After that, you’ll be asked for basic information like your name, social insurance number, address, and basic information about your life, such as your province of residence, whether you are married, and whether you have dependents.
Wealthsimple Tax will also ask you for your NETFILE access code. Wealthsimple Tax provides detailed instructions on where to find this code. It’s not mandatory, but it allows the CRA to confirm your identity using your 2021 tax return information.
Wealthsimple Tax makes providing information about your tax situation easy giving you the option to complete a quick questionnaire and import your slips from the CRA or the Invest arm of Wealthsimple. First, the questionnaire asks you which slips you’ve received.
Once you’ve inputted the slips you’ve already received, Wealthsimple asks you straightforward questions to determine which other tax slips apply to you.
After you complete the questionnaire, you’ll begin entering your tax information.
Once you’ve entered your information, you’ll review your return and file it via NETFILE, which opens on February 22, 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does Wealthsimple Tax charge to do taxes in Canada?
Wealthsimple Tax is a "pay what you want" tax service, which means you can pay $0, but their suggested donation amount is $20.
Does Wealthsimple Tax give you your refund immediately?
No. When you file with Wealthsimple Tax, you'll use the CRA's NETFILE service. When you use NETFILE, you'll receive an Express Notice of Assessment instantly, and you'll get your income tax refund in as little as eight days if you have direct deposit configured.
Is Wealthsimple Tax good for taxes?
Wealthsimple Tax is a good option for most Canadians who have an average tax situation, don't need premium add-ons, and have a good grasp on the process of preparing their taxes.
Wealthsimple Tax is a high-quality free Canadian tax software with many features and functions that rival the premium paid software on the market. Functions like NETFILE, RRSP optimization, smart search, pension splitting, and a beautiful user interface mean Wealthsimple Tax is a good option for the average Canadian with a good grasp of how taxes work and an uncomplicated tax situation. Plus, crypto-traders have a new way to easily declare their earnings on their tax returns with a new crypto auto-fill function. Wealthsimple Tax can link to over 300 crypto exchanges and wallets to automatically calculate your transactions.
Of course, the fact that it’s free is just the cherry on top.
That said, Wealthsimple Tax does not have some of the premium add-ons that make other paid tax software more user-friendly, especially for anyone preparing their taxes online for the first time. In addition, while Wealthsimple Tax has beefed up its customer service, which makes it more beginner-friendly than in previous years, we still recommend it for Canadians with some experience filing their taxes. If you’re nervous about making a mistake, you may want to check out our list of the best tax return software in Canada for more entry-level tax filing solutions.
In our opinion, Wealthsimple Tax strikes an excellent balance between offering many useful features while maintaining a very low cost. If you don’t plan to use premium options like having your return reviewed by an expert, then Wealthsimple Tax should meet your needs.
Images of the Wealthsimple Tax experience included above are from the prior tax season.